I have been rather silent of Slovenian politics recently. One of the reasons is that there is a brilliant blog about Slovenian politics in English by Pengovsky and I enjoyed reading it, instead of writing on my own. And I’ve been unusually lazy on writing. However, time is right to start all over – and we start with Rupel again.
Dr Dimitrij Rupel became almost part of the furniture at the Slovenian Foreign Office in the last 2 decades. He has basically been Foreign Minister since I started following politics, which goes a while ago. On and off he has been Foreign Minister for some 10 years. An impressive resume, on paper. However, some of us will also remember some of his less prominent intellectual escapades…He very often proved to be unsuitable for the job because of his temper. Some people think twice before speaking, Rupel would speak twice before thinking. However, all this should be placed aside.
The new Prime Minister, Borut Pahor, had therefore all the best preconditions to push “reset” on the Foreign Ministry and put the house in order. And it all started well – he appointed Samuel Zbogar as Foreign Minister. As a long-serving diplomat, Zbogar was already State Secretary under Rupel and lately Ambassador to the US. He’s young, mild-spoken and intelligent. People seem to like him and the appointment was well received by the electorate. (see vest.si for a nice conversation with the guy, in Slovenian)
It got even better. The President of Slovenia, Danilo TÃ¼rk, rejected Rupel’s self-application for the post of Ambassador to Austria, stating that he doesn’t trust him. That had to be a severe blow to Rupel’s ego. And there it goes all wrong, Rupel goes to the court and sues Slovenia for not appointing him…
And Pahor takes him into his Cabinet, as special envoy for foreign policy?! Where did Pahor got this idea, I would have problems even guessing. The public went mad, the news was all over the place and his coalition partners all had lemon faces. Rupel now sits again close to the government, in the front line we could say. After changing parties 4-5 times (lost the count…), he now seems to be close to the Social Democrats…
But even strategically, why did Pahor do it? Let’s pause for a moment and think. He might have thought “better to have him inside the tent pissing out, then outside pissing in” – but that doesn’t really apply, since Rupel does not have any legitimacy or credibility left and would be harmless in few months’ time. He also does not excel in foreign policy analysis plus he does not bring any votes. So?
Let’s leave it some time and see. Pahor should explain it one day.